SHEDDEN MAKES IT THREE

Honda man bat­tles to third BTCC ti­tle

Motor Sport News - - Front Page - Pho­tos: Jakob Ebrey

Gor­don Shedden knew a third Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship crown was a long way away when he was more than 50 points adrift at the half­way stage of the 2016 cam­paign.

As he climbed on to the ros­trum for third place at Brands Hatch af­ter race three, the res­ur­rec­tion was com­plete.

He’d done it. He had turned around an 11-point deficit com­ing into the last round and snatched the tro­phy ahead of Sam Tordoff, who fought gamely in his WSR BMW 125i M Sport.

The open­ing two races of the day had pro­vided a huge chink of light for Team BMR Subaru man Colin Turk­ing­ton, who banked two wins to move to within 10 points of the top.

How­ever, the North­ern Ir­ish­man limped home 12th in race three, hand­ing third in the stand­ings to win­ner Mat Jack­son’s Mo­tor­base Ford Fo­cus.

Shedden’s team-mate Matt Neal was ruled out of the ti­tle bat­tle af­ter a race two shunt stopped him tak­ing part in race three on med­i­cal grounds, and he fin­ished sixth in the points, be­hind Rob Collard’s WSR BMW 125i M Sport.

But they had all been put in the shad­ows by Shedden, the new MSA Bri­tish Tour­ing Car cham­pion.

BRANDS HATCH

Where: Long­field, Kent First BTCC round: 1958 Lap length: 2.433 miles Qual­i­fy­ing lap record: Mat Jack­son 1m30.685s (96.59mph) 2015 Race lap record: Colin Turk­ing­ton 1m31.372s (95.87mph) 2016

Team BMR Subaru Levorg

The two-time cham­pion was on strong form all week­end, but was out­done by team-mate Turk­ing­ton in the open­ing race as he was bot­tled up in third po­si­tion. Played the team game in race two (even­tu­ally) to help his sis­ter car, but weight in the fi­nale re­stricted his pace. Still a strong week­end though.

“A do or die” pass in the dy­ing mo­ments of the Ginetta GT4 Su­per­cup fi­nale se­cured Tom Wrigley the ti­tle by three points ahead of ri­val Will Burns.

A 33-point lead for Wrigley, ac­count­ing for dropped scores, was slashed down to a mere seven by the fi­nal race with Burns pres­sur­ing Wrigley in all three en­coun­ters.

Burns took first blood in the opener, with his pole key af­ter Wrigley could only qual­ify 10th in a wet ses­sion.

Mark Davies ini­tially took the lead, but Burns re­sponded well to win ahead of Davies and Jack Mitchell.

Wrigley fin­ished sev­enth as he strug­gled with a wet set-up. Not only had he lost cru­cial points, but he would start there in race two.

The wet track worked against both Burns and Wrigley, but Tom Hib­bert’s gam­ble on a full wet set-up paid div­i­dends as he won the sec­ond race.

“The F4 driv­ers were a lot slower than they should have been in sec­tions be­fore we went out,” he said. “That meant it was clearly still wet so I took the risk.”

Hib­bert over­came two safety car pe­ri­ods as the weather wors­ened, beat­ing Reece Somer­field and Carl Board­ley.

Mean­while, Burns fell to fifth af­ter start­ing on pole while Wrigley fin­ished eighth af­ter dam­age to his car’s rear.

With seven points split­ting them in the fi­nale, Wrigley knew he had to fol­low Burns across the line to win the ti­tle.

Board­ley took the eas­i­est of wins, as Burns and Wrigley’s sec­ond and third places de­cided the cham­pi­onship.

The pair had run third and fourth, but when Mitchell was passed by Burns shortly af­ter Board­ley took the fastest lap and points re­ward from Wrigley, Burns was mo­ments from the ti­tle.

With the pres­sure on, Wrigley made an all or noth­ing dive down the in­side of Mitchell at Paddock Hill Bend and just man­aged to fol­low Burns through for third and seal the ti­tle by three points.

Shedden went on a charge A third BTCC crown for Scot

Tordoff missed out on maiden ti­tle

OCTOBER 5 2016

Ginetta GT4 Su­per­cup Burns (r) was shad­owed by Wrigley in tense fi­nale Wrigley took crown by three points

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